What Do You Do With Your Degree?

Hurray! You’ve finished your college degree and now have this wonderful piece of paper demonstrating your knowledge. So what do you do with it? This is one question few students ask themselves until moments after walking out of their graduation ceremonies with parchment in hand. Here are a few things to consider:

The most obvious choice is to get your degree framed. Certainly you will find no shortage of services on campus offering to do just this. There are of course, many different price points for degree frames — from shiny metal to rich mahogany. This in itself can be a tough choice as you may have little idea of the décor your future house will have. The best bet is to pick whichever frame suites your tastes (and budget) at the moment. It can always be reframed in the future but just remember that this service can cost upwards of $100.

Wherever you decide to store the document, keep in mind that many employers or graduate school admissions offices will require proof of your degree. If you chose to keep your degree in a storage locker or perhaps at your parents’ house, you may want to keep a record of it handy just in case. Before putting the document away in a hard to retrieve place, be sure to take a photocopy or picture of it first and keep the record in place where you can find it quickly.

If you have a home office or library, this is a great place to hang your degree. It will always have a classy and sophisticated look to it and will be a wonderful reminder of your achievement. Some may chose to hang their degree at work, but unless your studies are directly related to the work you do (e.g. legal or medical school) displaying your degree in a cubical can look a tad pretentious. Your best bet is to keep the display somewhere subtle where you can enjoy it.

For those who chose not to frame their degrees, remember that time and air can destroy the material it is printed on. Keep the parchment in a part of your house that is cool and dry – never in a basement that can be prone to flooding. Whether you keep it rolled up or flattened out, it will eventually turn yellowish and start to wear in the corners. If you will be heartbroken to see the evidence of your hard work turn to dust, you should consider taking it to a professional document preserver. This can be cheaper than a framing service and give it just enough protection to ensure it stays as nice as they day you donned your graduation cap.

New grads tend to move around a lot and live in small apartments not quite suited to framed degrees on the walls. But remember that your degree represents years of hard work and sacrifice so anticipate that one day you will want to see it in good shape. An investment now will definitely pay off in the long run.

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